|French Open 2014|
|Andy Murray  (GBR)||vs||Marinko Matosevic (AUS)|
ScheduleThursday, 29 May 2014 at 11:00 GMT / 12:00 UK / 16:30 IST
VenueCourt Suzanne Lenglen, Roland Garros
It's taken him twelve attempts, but finally Marinko Matosevic has broken his grand slam drought. On Tuesday, the duck was finally over as the Aussie powered home from 1-5 to take the fourth set and eventually the game 7-6 (5), 6-4, 6-7 (1), 7-5 over 82nd ranked German Dustin Brown.
Quite why it's taken him this long to break through in slam events is a mystery. Matosevic has been ranked as high as 39 in the world, and on his day he can knock off players ranked within that 10-50 ranking bracket, as evidenced by his track record. He's still yet to win an ATP tournament, but has made one final, losing the 2012 Delray Beach event to South African Kevin Anderson 4-6, 6-7 (2).
In the second round however, the assignment gets much tougher, as he lines up against no 7 seed and current Wimbledon champion Andy Murray.
Murray's 2014 year hasn't been great by his standards. Apart from Acapulco in Mexico where he made the semi-finals (beaten by Dimitrov in three sets, two were tie-breakers), Andy hasn't ventured further than the quarter finals in all the big tournaments, falling over to the likes of Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Milos Raonic and Maran Cilic.
Yesterday, the Wimbledon champ snuck past Kazakhstan's Andrey Golubev in four: 6-1, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3. Murray has been absent from Roland Garros since 2012, missing last years event due to a back injury. Golubev is another player who has halved his ranking within the space of 6 months (was #103 in November 2013, now #53), so for Murray it was good to get past a dangerous obstacle at the first hurdle.
Murray and Matosevic are in the second quarter of the draw, and with the defeat of third seed Stan Wawrinka on Monday, it opens the way for other seeded players like Richard Gasquet (#12), Fabio Fognini (#14) and the exciting Frenchman Gael Monfils (#23) to forge their way through to the next rounds for a potential match-up with Andy Murray, who is looking more likely at this stage to progress.
In the head-to-head match ups, they've only met once, at last years Queens Club tournament in London, where Murray prevailed in the round of 16: 6-2, 6-2. He went on to win Queens and then Wimbledon after that. Murray has admitted that he's not the most comfortable on clay, and would much rather be playing on his favoured surfaces of grass and hard courts, to maximise his potential. Matosevic looms as a challenge, as the Australian is a good clean striker of the ball, and can put his large frame (6' 4”, 86 kgs) to good use, but his record on clay is not the best (Win/Loss – 2 and 8). Both players it would seem are not at their best on clay, and who knows, the game could turn into a bit of a lottery. However, Murray should probably hold too many aces up his sleeve and win through to the third round.
I predict Andy Murray to slip through in four sets.